If you’re setting up a new iPhone or have recently replaced or reset your iPhone you may run into an iMessage issue where it is waiting for activation. Let’s take a look at what to do to get it to activate.

AirPods

Besides the Waiting for activation message, other related problems may include seeing alerts such as Activation unsuccessfulAn error occurred during activation, or Could not sign in, please check your network connection.

How to activate iMessage

  1. For iMessage to activate you’ll need an internet connection, so make sure you’ve got a working cellular or Wi-Fi connection (you’ll also need SMS to be working with your phone #)
  2. Your time zone must be correct, double-check this by following Settings → General → Date & Time (using Set Automatically is the easiest way to do this)
  3. Turn off both iMessage and FaceTime. For iMessage go to Settings → Messages and tap the toggle to the right of iMessage. Do the same for FaceTime which is found just below Messages in Settings.
  4. Restart your device
  5. Turn iMessage and FaceTime back on

iMessage will often activate quickly, but Apple notes that in some cases it may take up to 24 hours. Another factor may be if Apple is experiencing any system issues, you can check Apple’s system status here.

Software update

Checking to see if there’s an available software update is always good practice.

  1. Find and tap on the Settings app (make sure you’re connected to Wi-Fi)
  2. Tap on General → Software Update
  3. Tap Download and Install

Still not activated?

If iMessage hasn’t activated after 24 hours, your next best step is to reset your network settings. Do this by navigating to Settings → General → Reset → Reset Network Settings. This won’t delete any data, except you will have to re-enter any Wi-Fi passwords that your device already knows.

If iMessage still won’t activate get in touch with Apple Support.

How to deactivate or deregister iMessage

If you’ve changed phone numbers or don’t have an iPhone anymore, you may want to deregister iMessage. Apple has a simple two-step process via its support site to take care of this.

If you still have an iPhone this process is as easy as turning off iMessage and FaceTime in Settings under Messages and FaceTime.

For more ways to get the most out of your Apple devices, check out our how to guide.


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